Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sumpter trustees OK extra pay structure for workers

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees met May 5 to address several items of business, including approval of $5 per hour “duty pay” to employees currently classified as essential and working during the pandemic.
Trustee Don LaPorte was excused from the meeting and Treasurer Ken Bednark was not in attendance during the discussion or vote on the proposal, which was first questioned by Township Clerk Esther Hurst who suggested the language clarify that the extra duty pay was for 2020 employees only.
Hurst's change was seconded by a concern of Deputy Supervisor Karen Armatis who suggested the language as presented did not clearly define that hazard pay was approved for union members only.  Township attorney RobYoung offered alternate language that eliminated non-union employees and made clear that the extra pay was intended for AFSCME members and workers.

Young stated that the board members were not changing the current union contract under which the employees are paid.
Just prior to the vote, Public Safety Director/Police Chief Eric Luke requested another change to the proposed resolution, noting that Fire Chief Joe Januszyk, who is not a union member, should also be eligible for the extra pay as he continues to work with the department firefighters and responds to requests for fire and medical assistance regularly.
Trustees requested that Young make that change and also include Luke in the provisions of the resolution authorizing the extra pay.
Only Trustee Matthew Oddy questioned the $5 per hour amount of duty pay suggesting that both the fire and police personnel interact with the public at a much higher rate that those employees at city hall. He suggested that $2 per hour in extra duty pay might be sufficient for those workers in light of the circumstances while township hall remains closed to the public.
The resolution was approved unanimously by the officials in attendance and will be effective through May 15.
“We'll make changes to the resolution,” Young said. “We're not changing the terms of the (union) contract.”
 The trustees also cancelled the May 12 and 26 meetings and agreed to posting a sign requiring a face mask or covering for anyone entering township hall or the senior center when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
The board also approved a motion to authorize Township Supervisor John Morgan to call back furloughed employees when the stay home order is lifted and circumstances ensure their safety.
In addition, the trustees approved a salary increase of $5,200 for Finance Director Michelle Cole explaining that she had assumed responsibility for the water department and was now supervising an employee.
Final approval of the UniMac commercial turnout gear washer purchase in the amount of $7,596 was by unanimous vote. Luke noted that the purchase had been considered and discussed for a year  and the machine is necessary to ensure that the gear from fire scenes is properly cleaned of toxins before being worn again.
Trustees also authorized the payment of current bills and extended authorization for bills due to be paid following review and approval by Cole through May 29.